DePaula v Easter seals El Mirador

DePaula appealed summary judgment to El Mirador on his federal and state discrimination and wrongful termination claims. The panel affirmed. It held that DePaula inadequately briefed part of his state discrimination claim and his entire wrongful discharge claim and thus affirmed on that basis. It held that el Mirador proved a legitimate nondiscriminatory basis to terminate DePaula, namely financial hardship and performance concerns, and thus summary judgment was correctly granted on his age and associational discrimination claims and his retaliation claims. It finally affirmed as to DePaula’s family leave interference claim as el Mirador would have fired him because of the financial difficulties and the performance concerns whether he took leave or not.United States v Williamson

Williamson appealed his child pornography convictions arguing his motion for new counsel should have been granted and that his motion to suppress should have been granted. The panel affirmed. It held that United states Supreme Court precedent on attorney conflict of interest only applies an automatic reversal rule when the conflict involves joint or multiple representation of clients not when a potential conflict is identified to the trial judge as happened here and there was no actual conflict here based on defense counsel status as the divorced husband of the prosecutor particularly as neither counsel nor Williamson thought it important enough to raise the issue on their separate motions for new counsel. The panel held that filing criminal complaints, civil actions or ethics complaints against defense counsel does not create actual conflict of enters as interests could align to prompt counsel to do his utmost at the underlying criminal trial and a different rule would allow defendants to game the system and thus Williamson’s criminal complaint against his attorney did not require an attorney be appointed particularly as Williamson merely pointed to his concern about how the record would look on appeal rather than actual conflict of interest between him and his attorney. It held the alleged breakdown in communications did not require new counsel as the motion was untimely, the district court adequately inquired into the situation, the breakdown was over strategy and Williamson’s intransigence was a primary cause of the breakdown. It rejected Williamson’s claim his motion to represent himself should have been denied as there was no basis for new counsel and the district court explained the dangers of self-representation. It finally affirmed denial of Williamson’s motion to suppress as neither the failure of the attesting officer to sign the application nor the lack of the words “search warrant” on the warrant rendered the warrant invalid.